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Fifty-Five Years Ago in the Wilderness - Page 5
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brother; the Nation had lost a brave!  They are not as we are.  After they kill their first deer, they have no more to do with their parents -- they then belong to their nation; therefore, they all equally feel for them; there is an hour of deep sadness in the tribe.  They then hunt a spreading limb on some tall tree; they haul him up there and confine the corpse to this limb and leave him, believing they have left him as near the happy hunting ground as possible.

But to return when the child was sent home to its parents; their grateful feelings knew no bounds.  The old man had two sons -- one 18 and one 20 years of age; he told them to go to the cabin of the man of the wilderness and protect him at the cost of their own lives -- to live with him, or die with him, for he was worthy.  They come -- two fine young men, brave enough.  We kew we would have trouble.  We had built a little log fort and prepared for seige; we had a good old-fashioned flint-lock rifle apiece; some extra flints; some powder and lead.  But here is the great mystery: why did we stay?  I can only answer by saying we had become hardened to danger and trials, and I think it was not intended we should run -- for the man of the wilderness makes so many hair-breadth escapes, lays down so often of a night, expecting every moment to hear the savage war-whoop, the scalping-knife or bloody hatchet, until he becomes used to it.  It seems to be a natural consequence for him to be killed by an Indian -- it would be nothing new.  Therefore,day after day, he remains.  Such was the case  of the  old Ringtail Panther of the wilderness of Missouri; and while at camp, things were going on in this way.  But now he knew he would be attacked by a large force soon.  Our little fortwas built between a steep cliff of rocks where there was butone way to get up to it, and that was up a small hollow that ran up to the fort.  He had ten 5 lb. canisters of powder planted along this hollow, some ten steps apart, running a little trail of powder through hollow canes from cannister to canister, and from the last canister to where he expected  to stand when he marched out to meet them, intending for them to come to the middle of the first-planted powder, he wouldcause them to stop by a motion that he wanted to talk.  He knew they were superstitious and easily deceived, for he had already heard that they believed him to be a great Medicine Man, or Big Thunder, from the Great Spirit, sent to punish the Osage.  He knew it would be an easy matter to

Compilation and transcription by Kameron Searle.  Copyright 2005 by Kameron Searle.

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